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The book in Drago's lap once again turns to another page, an illustration on the right page this time. The illustration depicts a man standing upon the ground with his arms outstretched. The sun sits on his left and the moon sits on his right with stars in between. The man's expression is one of solemn contemplation.
"The Summoners are children of earth and sky. A mortal and an eidolon bound by a just cause to protect both their homes. Yet earth and sky do not make a world. The glory of Aroden, gifted to the world in the form of the Anizari, add to the cycle of life. Yet this does not make a world. Where there is light, there must be darkness. Yet darkness is not evil but a counterpart to the light and a bringer of balance. The Green Circle is this balance. Where there is balance, there is naught but glory and good.
"The greatest of goods is the shedding of mortal desires and failings to bring mercy, kindness and hope to those who have none. To this end, there exists a stone of power, meant to strip away the selfish and supplant it with selflessness. Despite the noble purpose, it can be used for evil. The god, Norgorber, is proof of this. Realizing his mistake, our benefactor, Aroden, has granted the Summoners, the Anizari and the Green Circle three parts of a key to find the stone. If the three groups would cooperate, then the wisest and most balanced among them would assume their place among the divine."
The book flips pages again. This time it is two pages of text. It recounts a tale of the First Summoner, a man named Styrkur.
After the fall of the Predecessors, Styrkur lived among the giants, the name he bore granted by them. While many clamored for the power left behind, Styrkur sought his own path, speaking to the stones of Zahvroma. To his surprise, they spoke back to him. They told him of countless worlds and countless realities, revealing to him that his path was not a static one or one confined to Zahvroma alone. Styrkur journeyed the length and breadth of the land, searching but not finding his answer. It was then he came to a land far to the north, where the voices of the stones seemed loudest. In the snow of the north, he found a blackened coronet of the savage tribes, which had been decimated by the Predecessors. He named the land Blackcrown and listened to the spirits of the stones and the spirits of the barbarians gone before him. Styrkur learned of a magic circle deep underground that led to other places and he searched beneath the earth for seven years before finding the circle. It shone like amber in firelight and called to him with many words. Styrkur spoke the strange tongue granted to him by his commune with the spirits and a door opened before him. What happened next, no record exists. But Styrkur emerged from the door two years later, a strange creature in tow. A winged serpent followed Styrkur back to Zahvroma, its name was Hyggindi. Styrkur built the realm of Blackcrown with Hyggindi's help, a haven for those who were lost and sought their own path. Many came to Styrkur and many grew in power equal to the First Summoner. Styrkur founded the Five Houses and ruled with those who showed the same strength and wisdom as he. Styrkur took up his second name then: Bok. As the ages passed, Styrkur and Hyggindi were forgotten, but the wisdom of House Bok always lived up to his legacy.
As Drago thinks, the book flips open to a page, seemingly at random. On the left hand side is a striking illustration of what appears to be a Summoner and a draconic-looking eidolon standing on top of a mountain beset by a host of shadowy foes. On the opposite side, there is a passage.
"A Summoner brooks no tyranny
In the darkest of nights,
There is no obstacle a Summoner cannot face
A Summoner takes his strength from others
A Summoner's destiny is to build
A Summoner is the future
Drago studies the book, though most of the spells and incantations make little sense. While magic was esoteric enough, the contents of the book seemed far more complex than anything the dhampir had been exposed to. It seems a mystery how Kara was able to understand it, having no connection to the Anizari or the Summoners.
"Humm, before the abyss appeared, before Malfeliax was bound to the earth, this was my home. I was a guardian of the Tower of Order, along with my people. I built the bridge you crossed to get here. These smaller ones were villagers from the southern places. The dark dwarves would kidnap them in the night. Many of them grew up in these mines, not knowing what became of their families, hummm," Birgir answers.
"Humm, very well," the giant says, seemingly sighing. "Humm, but I do not speak of Vencious. I speak of a dark dwarf skilled in bending metal to his will. His magic is powerful, but your friend is free to try to break my bonds, hummm. If it does not work, I doubt you will find us in this place again the next time, humm."